The Human Cost Of FOSTA

from the wasn't-it-supposed-to-save-lives dept

As you'll recall in the run up to passing FOSTA last year, supporters of the bill -- backed in secret by Hollywood lobbyists whose sole goal was to create liability for internet companies and force them to install filters -- kept insisting that it was all about "protecting women." There was an infamously misleading Public Service Announcement that supporters of the bill put together, staring into the camera and talking grimly about how necessary it was to amend Section 230 to save women. It starred a bunch of famous actors, including Amy Schumer, Tony Shalhoub, Josh Charles, Seth Meyers, and others.

Of course, since FOSTA passed, it has yet to be used against any website. Indeed, the website that everyone kept holding up as proof for why FOSTA was needed, Backpage, was actually shut down a week before FOSTA became law under existing laws.

And yet, FOSTA has created tremendous real world damage. A bunch of sites and individuals have been silenced out of fear that it might be used against them, creating massive chilling effects -- including chilling effects on advocacy and information providing groups who try to help sex trafficking victims, but who now may violate FOSTA in continuing to do that work.

Lura Chaberlian has now published a deep dive into how FOSTA is a "hostile law" with "a human cost" for Fordham Law School. The quick summary of the paper is that FOSTA hasn't done anything to help sex trafficking victims, but has created real harms for many women, especially those engaged in consensual sex work.

According to the 485 members of Congress who supported the law and the numerous celebrities who appeared in public service announcements evangelizing it, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 20176 (“FOSTA”) was going to save people. FOSTA enjoyed a glowing narrative as a panacea for sexual corruption in the United States: it would reduce deaths, prevent rapes, and gut the marketplace for abusive sexual activity. Pimps would no longer be able to so readily sell a woman’s body, and children would be safe from predation. These results were as good as guaranteed because a significant amount of sex trafficking occurs online. FOSTA would make it a crime for websites to continue allowing malefactors to advertise for this abhorrent behavior on their platforms. With trafficking off the internet, the sex industry would shrivel. The right parties would be held responsible. No one would get hurt.

Within one month of FOSTA’s enactment, thirteen sex workers were reported missing, and two were dead from suicide. Sex workers operating independently faced a tremendous and immediate uptick in unwanted solicitation from individuals offering or demanding to traffic them. Numerous others were raped, assaulted, and rendered homeless or unable to feed their children. These egregious acts of violence and economic devastation are directly attributable to FOSTA’s enactment. Meanwhile, law enforcement professionals have complained that their investigations into sex-trafficking cases have been “blinded”—they no longer have advertisements to subpoena, digital records to produce for prosecutors, and leads that can bring them to live crime scenes full of evidence, like hotel rooms. This blindness is not for lack of anything to see: one report suggests that online sex trafficking is as prevalent as ever.

Just to be clear, in the actual report, in just those two paragraphs, there are 17 footnotes to articles detailing every statement made (the full paper has 330 such footnoted citations). This is a huge collection of evidence around the very real harms of FOSTA. As the paper notes, rather than saving lies FOSTA is "a law with a body count" attached to it:

FOSTA directly endangers individuals who perform commercial sexual services by driving these transactions away from the relative protection of the internet and back onto the street. Traditionally, solicitation of a sex worker’s services took place during an in-person encounter that also functioned as an advertisement for business: a brothel or, more recently, the street. Street work is more dangerous than indoor work and can even be lethal. Rape and assault are prevalent and seen as inevitable, and workers are at risk of violence from clients and law enforcement alike. As the internet became a ubiquitous utility, sex workers were able to move the negotiation and solicitation stages of their business to online forums that did not demand physical presence. Sex workers gained the means to create an electronic record of client communications, screen potential clients, and communicate with one another about dangerous clients, safe spaces, and other industry-specific health and safety tips. The shift online revolutionized the industry, imbuing sex work with a previously nonexistent level of safety and decreasing the need for third parties as security or advertisement intermediaries. The effect was striking: a 2017 study found that “from 2002 to 2010, when Craigslist’s erotic-services site was active and solicitation moved indoors, the female homicide rate fell by seventeen percent.”

Incredibly, the paper highlights how FOSTA is likely to create more sex trafficking since sex workers may feel pressured to have pimps for protection, which they didn't need previously.

FOSTA confines commercial sex to its most dangerous model. Since FOSTA’s enactment, sex workers have reported an increase in communication from “pimps” claiming that their services are necessary. Although some sex workers work with third parties voluntarily, others may feel pressured into a situation that could easily become sex trafficking, meaning that FOSTA could actually facilitate sex trafficking by forcing consensual sex workers into coercive situations. Further, the workers most endangered by street-based sex work tend to be from marginalized communities. Women of color are disproportionately arrested and prosecuted for prostitution-related offenses, and forcing sex work into the street will only increase these arrests. In addition to scrubbing advertisements for consensual sex from online forums, FOSTA threatens access to secondary online resources used for protection and verification.284 None of these consequences has a valid relationship to FOSTA’s purported aim.

So, despite that dramatic PSA above, so far FOSTA has:

  • Not helped take down Backpage (existing laws did that)
  • Led to widespread internet censorship, including information designed to help sex trafficking victims
  • Put sex workers in much greater risk, leading to multiple deaths and disappearances
  • Facilitated more sex trafficking by pushing sex workers into the waiting arms of traffickers for "protection"
  • Not shown any actual decrease is sex trafficking or sex trafficking advertisements.
Oh, and no officials have actually used the law yet.

So, maybe, someone should be asking Amy Schumer, Tony Shalhoub, Josh Charles, Seth Meyers, and those others how they feel about this law that they were instrumental in getting passed. Or, better yet, someone should be asking whoever it was who put them up to be spokespersons for this terrible and unconstitutional law.

Filed Under: cda 230, fosta, safety, sex trafficking


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 10:57am

    Was it legal before FOSTA to advertise children for sex? I guess it must have been, because in that video they clearly say it was.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 11:17am

    Just a reminder that this bill was strongly backed by some of Masnick's own sponsors:

    https://thehill.com/policy/technology/375680-facebooks-sheryl-sandberg-backs-legislation-t o-curb-online-sex-trafficking

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 12:03pm

      Re:

      Unsure what their opinion would have to do with his opinion above?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 3:15pm

      Re:

      So, uh, doesn't that disprove the claim you always make that Mike is just a shill for his sponsors? Did you just prove yourself to be an idiot by showing that Mike will stand up to his sponsors when they do something he disagrees with? Seems like evidence that Mike has principles and sticks to them.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 5:43pm

        Re: Re:

        antidirt is still very much married to the idea that because Techdirt was hyperlinked in one court document involving Google, he gets to use that as a stake to Masnick's magical vampire heart in every conversation it's in.

        Not only is it laughably ineffective at achieving what he wants, it got tiresome very quickly.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 8:50pm

      Re:

      Oh yes, let's make sure to censor this post lol

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 11:19am

    It's hard out there for a pimp.

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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 11:34am

    Think of the children

    The /b alt-right crowd have a concept instant army which is the angry mob one can summon with the right story (and how to be skeptical so as to not become part of one, also how to construct a story that works). It's a modicum of self-awareness by a community that was (and still is) really susceptible to being rallied to stupid causes on false premises.

    It seems that the appeal to children's welfare still works for politicians and Hollywood talent.

    We also like to pass stupid, poorly-considered laws often that lead to ill effects rather than study the problem and consider what to do. It doesn't help that in the absence of peer-reviewed studies with strong data, instead we make up fictitious data and call it real, biased to support our beliefs or our agenda.

    (The bigger picture is about how we work our labor force so hard they don't have the time to parent, and so we have more dysfunctional kids in broken homes which are more susceptible to sex traffickers. But free market capitalism!)

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    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 11:37am

      Re: Instant army

      It's not an "alt-right" phenomenon. The left used it all through the sixties, and religions have used it for... well, as long as there have been religions.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 11:51am

        not an "alt-right" phenomenon

        It's not an alt-right phenomenon but they gave it the name instant army and sought to become aware when someone was trying to rally one.

        The phenomenon is obviously much older, and culture seems to alternate between wanting people to have critical thinking skills and decide for themselves what causes to follow, and wanting people to be obedient to current causes, often unaware that obedience can be easily shifted.

        Case in point, the GOP which went from the fiscal responsibility party to the Loyalty To Trump party.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 12:23pm

          Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

          I'm a conservative and keep my ear to the ground fairly well. In an age where any conservative is capable of being character assassinated, dox'ed, the victim of petty vandalism, lies, slander, and outright violence just by peacefully expressing their opinion, the so-called appeal of Trump is that he has been willing and able to to be a lightning rod. The vast majority disagree with many of his tactics, but he is the man in the arena.

          The Left created Trump when they abandoned all pretext of rational conversation and started screaming. Time will tell whether anyone on the Left will be able to make them stop.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 12:31pm

            I need a quick reminder of something: Who created the Tea Party in response to a Black man becoming president?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 12:42pm

              Re:

              I'm was an early Tea Party member in the mid-West and attended meetings for about a year. You are delusional if you think it was based on race. That, and you have your time line wrong anyway.

              It was based on taxes, and a general dissatisfaction with the leftward financial tilt of established Republicans at the time.

              And before you comment, we're still not happy with excessive deficit spending, no matter who is president.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:23pm

              Re:

              The Koch brothers.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2019 @ 11:38pm

              Re:

              The Tea Party was created in response to the bailouts. Bitcoin was also created the same way.

              One day we might have a world with a decentralized reserve currency (Bitcoin) that no one can "print." That scares us for good reason.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 12:39pm

            Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

            The Left created Trump when they abandoned all pretext of rational conversation and started screaming. Time will tell whether anyone on the Left will be able to make them stop.

            If the Left "abandoned all pretext of rational conversation and started screaming" during the Obama years it certainly didn't do so alone ("Obama is a secret Muslim," "Obama is going to take your guns," "Obamacare is going to create death panels," etc.).

            And I find it hard to believe that "the vast majority [of conservatives] disagree with many of [Trump's] tactics" when Trump continues to maintain a ~90% approval rate among Republicans.

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 12:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

              Just ask a few. Like I said, he's the man in the arena. You don't have to agree with the lifestyle of your favorite football players to love your team in general and appreciate the players for what they accomplish.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 1:01pm

                Like I said, he's the man in the arena.

                So what? He is a boorish, immature, disgustingly arrogant moron. His being “the man in the arena” does not change how he has destroyed American political norms — within the past couple of days, he has “joked” about deserving two more years in office to make up for the Mueller report — and given the worst members of society the green light to act on their worst impulses because they may just get away with it. After all, they are “very fine people” if you listen to Trump.

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:22pm

                  Re:

                  Pretty sure I started this conversation not in defense of Trump, but that the bad behavior of the Left created him [being president]. That's not a ringing endorsement of the man. By the same token, I didn't even mention Obama, as the behavior predated him.

                  Lack of civil discourse and the vilification of the person for their politics created the mess we find ourselves. How can any rational person disagree with that?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:48pm

                    Re: Re:

                    No one is above the law

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 8 May 2019 @ 12:20am

                    Re: Re:

                    "I started this conversation not in defense of Trump, but that the bad behavior of the Left created him"

                    Yes, I have noticed the tendency of people on the "right" to refuse to take responsibility for thieir own actions. Whatever reason you want to give for you voting Trump into power - you did it. Own it.

                    "How can any rational person disagree with that?"

                    Why would any rational person vote someone they disagree with into power just because they felt someone else was mean to them?

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                    • icon
                      That One Guy (profile), 8 May 2019 @ 1:52am

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      Why would any rational person vote someone they disagree with into power just because they felt someone else was mean to them?

                      What do you mean, what could possibly not be rational about making a choice not because you think it would be good for you or you agree with it, but because it will screw over someone you don't like(and incidentally you)?

                      If you're in a boat with someone you can't stand is it not entirely rational to bust a hole in the bottom of the boat just to spite them? Sure you'll drown, but if that's what it takes to stick it to them then how is that not a completely adult and reasonable action?

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2019 @ 11:38pm

                  Re:

                  We pick winners based on money and fame...Trump has both.

                  Perhaps our value system is to blame?

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              • identicon
                TFG, 7 May 2019 @ 1:07pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

                I disagree with the analogy. Trump is the leader of the party right now. He's not a player in a ball game. If we must persist with the sports analogy (which is entertainment and far lower in stakes) then he's the coach.

                This coach is taking us down bad paths. From my point of view, he's running the team into the ground, and taking the whole damn league with him, and buddy, I used to vote republican.

                Because I love my team (i.e. country) I'm calling out the coach (i.e. president) as a bad choice. If you don't like what the coach is doing, SPEAK UP or be assumed to agree with him.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:29pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

                  Trump is the leader of the party right now. He's not a player in a ball game. If we must persist with the sports analogy (which is entertainment and far lower in stakes) then he's the coach.

                  I understand your analogy, but I think it's not quite accurate. Look at what happened with the material leaked from the Democratic party regarding how Sanders' 2016 campaign was sabotaged by the party because they preferred Clinton. I don't think it's much of a stretch to assume Republican party leadership has a similar amount of power regarding who ultimately gets chosen as their candidate. Therefore, I wouldn't characterize Trump (or Clinton, had she won) as the coach, but rather as a kind of hybrid between "star player" and "mascot."

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    TFG, 7 May 2019 @ 1:44pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

                    I don't like the sports analogy in the first place. Sports is relatively meaningless entertainment, whereas these people have incredible sweeping power.

                    Trump doesn't fit as a star player or Mascot either, not when he holds the position of President, and all the power of the top seat of the Executive Branch of the Government, plus Commander-in-Chief of the military.

                    The mascot doesn't dictate policy. The star player doesn't run the team.

                    The point is, if you are Republican and you don't agree with trump, SPEAK THE FUCK UP, because otherwise it looks like support.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:41pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

                  Points well taken in general although the fan base of the Patriots would seem to indicate that results matter more than character, even at the coaching level. That of course, is no reason to dismiss principles, which is your point I believe.

                  My point, once again, is that Trump's crass style is the result of societal bad behavior writ large. That said, given the religious zealotry of the left, he's a bulwark right now, and we dismiss him at our peril.

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                  • identicon
                    TFG, 7 May 2019 @ 1:53pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

                    Trump is not a bulwark - Trump is a millstone. From my point of view, the Republican party needs to abandon and denounce Trump and his brand of politics, or they will be Trump's party, not a Republican party. If you don't agree with Trump's principles, speak up.

                    It's not a crass style - it's a disregard for the country and its citizens, a disregard for humanity as a whole, and an authoritarian bent that smacks of dictatorial aspirations. It's a favoring of the exorbitantly rich over the masses of people, which is an economic model with devastating long-term consequences. It's an anti-science and anti-facts philosophy that also promises major problems down the line.

                    The man is doing almost everything wrong, and the Republican party's clinging to him to keep their positions is an exceedingly bad look for them. Their support of him is why I no longer trust the Republican party.

                    What is more important? Your actual principles? That which is actually good for the country? Or toeing the current party line so that it can at least be said that Republicans hold the throne?

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 2:17pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

                      You equate conservatives with the Republican party, which, given a two party system where one is tracking socialist, I can understand, but it doesn't make it true.

                      For the record, I don't agree that Trump is for the rich guy, I don't think he gives a crap about white anything, and I do believe he wants six more years to course correct a ton of imbalances in the system for the ultimate benefit of everyone. He says it, he acts on it, and everything else is (at times unfortunately) scripted theater to calculated three moves out.

                      Right leaning, click obsessive pundits saw every move that Obama made as some plot to make him king; we're seeing that same silly behavior now for lefties.

                      Any leader who has run anything for long sometimes dreams of just having his own way, and the process of becoming President pre-selects folks who have more than a little bit of that tendency. Our three branch system was CREATED to balance that tendency, and for now, I trust the system that reigned in both Nixon and Obama.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 2:28pm

                        Re: might wanna go back to infowars

                        Oh yeah it’s 8th dimension chess. Not total fucking chaos. You are delusional bro.

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                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 2:52pm

                        I don't agree that Trump is for the rich guy

                        His sole legislative accomplishment worth a damn is a tax cut for the wealthy.

                        I don't think he gives a crap about white anything

                        Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colin Kaepernick, and the “very fine” White nationalists from the Charlottesville march all say “hello”.

                        and I do believe he wants six more years to course correct a ton of imbalances in the system for the ultimate benefit of everyone.

                        Funny how he seems more determined to destroy the economy via tariffs and trade wars, start some form of war with Iran, marginalize Muslims and LGBT people (for starters), rip immigrant families apart, help the wealthy stay wealthy while the poor grow poorer, and rile up the worst of society to do whatever they want without serious consequences than he is to “course correct a ton of imbalances … for the ultimate benefit of everyone”. It is almost as if he is a maddeningly stupid person with no real policy plans other than “say and do whatever helps me win votes”.

                        Our three branch system was CREATED to balance that tendency

                        The legislative branch is currently in shambles because of Republican actions — first by stonewalling the Obama administration/Democratic lawmakers (up to and including the theft of a Supreme Court seat) out of sheer partisanship and maybe a bit of racism, then by refusing to hold Trump accountable for his actions as president because he can help the GOP install conservative judges into powerful positions within the legal system.

                        As Trump grows ever more desperate to be seen as “winning”, the GOP grows ever more desperate to be seen as helping him (or at least not hindering him), regardless of what it does to the reputation of the Republican Party in general and those lawmakers in particular. To that end, they have largely overlooked and sometimes even defended the corruption within his administration. If Republicans in the legislative branch were going to hold Trump accountable for his bullshit, they would have done it by now.

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                        • identicon
                          TFG, 7 May 2019 @ 3:09pm

                          Re:

                          I'm largely in agreement with Stephen here. I'll add that you're giving Trump too much credit in "three moves ahead calculation" - that type of forward thinking I don't see from him.

                          To add to this: "...marginalize Muslims..."

                          The Muslim ban affected a number of marginalized Christian groups (Assyrians, for example) as well. ICE under the current administration has also cracked down on immigrant Christian populations (Assyrians again, Copts, etc. - basically, if you're too brown), so in addition to marginalizing Muslims, this administration is continuing to marginalize currently oppressed minorities, who might have even voted for Trump due to an unfortunate silence from the otherwise rather inclusive left as regards the oppression they face in the places they have fled from.

                          Trump is good for no one but those currently in power and those currently with wealth.

                          I will say it again: I used to vote Republican. I don't agree with the Democrats on everything. But from what I see the current Republican party is nothing but a play for establishing total oligarchic and corporate control of everything. Trump is the millstone around their neck - we'll either all go down with him and America may as well be dead, or the Republican party will drown itself.

                          Please. Stop deluding yourself, AC.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 5:45pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

                        Course correct?

                        The fucker won the election based on promises that Mexico would build a wall at his behest and Hilary Clinton would be in jail.

                        Fast forward to today, and not only did he manage to get two of his closest confidantes in the slammer, he's impoverishing his army for the wall Mexico was supposed to pay for.

                        Look, if some asshole is stuck in the toilet with constipation, I don't care how long it takes; he's not going to suddenly push out a rainbow instead of shit.

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                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 8 May 2019 @ 12:25am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomeno

                          "The fucker won the election based on promises that Mexico would build a wall at his behest and Hilary Clinton would be in jail."

                          It's a sad indictment of the voters that people actually believed that crap, as it was obvious grift from the outset. The silver lining for them is because Trump only won by a small number of votes in the electoral college and lost the popular vote by a large margin, that less gullible people will have a chance to correct the mistake next year.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2019 @ 10:58am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phe

                        Is this satire?

                        What do you think the word Socialist means?

                        I am curious ... how did you become so enamored with the conservative mind set that you completely gave up on any sort of rational thought process?

                        You think Obama wanted to King? Please explain with examples of what he did to make you think that. We are seeing trump act like a dictator wanna be and you try to project it upon Obama ... LOL You are pathetic. You forgot to mention Her Emails!

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:59pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

                    given the religious zealotry of the left

                    Wait, what? Everyone knows the republican party is the party of the religious. The religious zealotry of the right is well known and impossible to miss. The bible belt voted Trump because he's republican and most still support him for that same reason. What the actual fuck are you talking about?

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 2:29pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

                      In context, religious zealotry is defined as the tendency to believe that one's own beliefs are correct and without question. Taken to the extreme (and we are certainly seeing it now on a weekly basis), one's own behavior, however morally repugnant, unlawful, or just plain rude, is defensible to achieve your desired and unquestioned outcome.

                      The behavior seems to be written into our DNA, as it seems to always have been with us, and does not respect political or conventional religious boundaries.

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                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 2:57pm

                        one's own behavior, however morally repugnant, unlawful, or just plain rude, is defensible to achieve your desired and unquestioned outcome

                        To wit: Republicans ignoring or defending the Trump administration’s corruption and Trump’s own paste-eating idiocy because Trump is delivering conservative judges to federal court positions, which helps Republicans come one step closer to overturning Roe v. Wade and re-criminalizing all abortion (among other pet causes).

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2019 @ 11:04am

                          Re:

                          I am curious what the republican core voter would think if they were to actually achieve all their goals, would they then be happy? I am not talking about the rich who funded the tyrant, I'm talking about the little people who voted for him.

                          We are presently seeing some get angry about how they were lied to. For example the farmers, coal miners and vehicle assembly folk. Some of them believed the lies and now are suffering for it.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:19pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

                You don't have to agree with the lifestyle of your favorite football players to love your team in general and appreciate the players for what they accomplish.

                No, but if one player's behaviour on the field shows an utter disrespect for the other players, for the rules of the game, for the fans, and for the institution as a whole, I would think that even his own team's supporters should be calling for his ejection and suspension. They especially shouldn't be appreciating what he's accomplishing when, by one of your main standards of success (decreasing the deficit), he's a horrible player (increased by 16% from $665bn to $779bn).

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:31pm

                Re: totally not a massive hypocrite

                And I’m 100% sure that you held the exact same opinion while Obama was in office. And never derided him for anything related to his lifestyle.

                Riiiiggghhhtttt

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:25pm

            Re: All racists rationalise their racism

            “The Left created Trump when they abandoned all pretext of rational conversation ”

            No you right wing nutters just lowered your standards that a lifetime grifter, white supremacist and possible traitor is considered a “rational” choice.

            Trump haven’t changed bro.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:47pm

            Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

            Poe, or maybe not ... but it did remind me of Hillary's emails.

            and that russian interference in our past elections that many said did not happen ... well - apparently it is now Obama's fault.

            LOL, that fan is becoming clogged with all the shit that is hitting it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 3:11pm

            Re: Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

            On the GOP side of the 2012 election no-one really liked Romney for various reasons. Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was a big one, among the religious right, though it was conspicuous that the only charity he donated to while captaining Bain Capital was the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and their giant fortress in Salt Lake City.

            But despite, like, a dozen or so candidates, including at one moment Stephen Colbert (the character), there was no one the GOP could find that was tall enough to ride the ride and fit exactly the perfect GOP threshold of electability yet perfectly agreeing with the GOP's byzantine platform.

            In fact, the same thing happened in 2016. Only Trump came in and behaved like a contemptable monster. He was nominated as the GOP candidate pretty much by acclamation. And went on to win the election.

            To this day it feels like someone went back in time and meddled with the past.

            Incidentally, Obama and Clinton were (and still are) neocons. As for us who are thought as the radical left, we haven't had skin in the game since (maybe) Carter. As we complained plenty here on TechDirt, there isn't a no-surveillance candidate or a no-drone-strikes candidate or even a Intellectual Property Reform candidate. There are corporatist candidates and other corporatist candidates.

            For us, Clinton was the please-not-Trump candidate, and our enthusiasm in 2016 was so reflected.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:29pm

          Re: not an "alt-right" phenomenon

          Case in point, the GOP which went from the fiscal responsibility party to the Loyalty To Trump party.

          To be fair to the GOP, they haven't been "the fiscal responsibility party" since Reagan took office; they only claim to be when the Democrats threaten to spend money on improving people's lives rather than expanding the military or giving tax cuts to massive corporations. The last balanced budget was under Clinton; the last one before that was Carter.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:22pm

      Re: Think of the children

      That was on /b/ a decade or more before the alt-right was a thing. Also /pol/ is the alt-right home on 4chan rather than /b/.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 1:52pm

    So, maybe, someone should be asking Amy Schumer, Tony Shalhoub, Josh Charles, Seth Meyers, and those others how they feel about this law that they were instrumental in getting passed.

    So why not ask? @ them on Twitter or something, point out their support and show them the results? Not that I'd expect a response to a random person (I don't even have a Twitter account), but someone of a more journalistic persuasion might get something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    fairuse (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 5:20pm

    I Did Not Know This Is The Off Topic Page - Women Are Dead

    I really don't care to yammer about the office of President, our representatives were bought by Hollywood. The PSA above is an advertisement for some film and is a total mockery of making law that is based on clear thinking. Advertising lives by pulling logic out of the message and replaces it with vague misdirection such as "buy child online for sex".

    Remember, Hollywood is all about smoke and mirrors - money buys votes.

    I'm still wanting to say something I would regret about the PSA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 8 May 2019 @ 9:51am

      Re: I Did Not Know This Is The Off Topic Page - Women Are Dead

      I really don't care to yammer about the office of President, our representatives were bought by Hollywood.

      The president signed FOSTA into law. He's as relevant to the conversation as Congress. (Though I suppose he couldn't have stopped it; it passed with a veto-proof majority.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        fairuse (profile), 10 May 2019 @ 11:34pm

        Re: Re: I Did Not Know This Is The Off Topic Page - Women Are De

        Reckon pick your battles carefully could not be tested. The amount of time action groups put into TV (C-SPAN) interviews about local police and prostitution problems that FOSTA would solve was enough to show me a rebranding was really happening.

        The "sex trafficking" buzzword became the anything to with sex work brand. Toss in Internet & children for good measure and it was unstoppable.

        I did not count votes so thanks for that part of the nightmare FOSTA enjoyed.

        Not sure what happens now but I doubt this law will be on any list for technical corrections.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 6:42pm

    let's review

    despite being principally backed by sex trafficking advocates whose only, open, and declared public interest is stopping sex trafficking, we should understand that it was "backed in secret by Hollywood lobbyists whose sole goal was to create liability for internet companies and force them to install filters."

    however, at the same time, we should not ask who backs and benefits from the huge pro-Section 230 lobby of which this site is a central hub. i mean, nobody makes money from that, right? whereas i'm sure it was easy for "Hollywood" to cunningly plant fake "sex trafficking" activists in NGOs for decades just to one day help to defeat "freedom."

    but wait, there's more! though we admit here that Section 230 has never been used, the harms caused by websites voluntarily taking actions that the legislators who passed FOSTA said were unnecessary if they were really engaged in the businesses they said they were engaged in, are real! isn't that neat, how you can pass a law against theft, and then people can refuse to drive their cars, and now claim that the 'law against theft is preventing them from driving their cars?

    what advice from DOJ or prosecutors did Craigslist etc get to make them act that way? What evidence do we have that their actions were not themselves part of a massive, coordinated protest in their own obvious self-interest, as opposed to the effects of a law that even this article admits has not been used?

    and then for the coup de grace, a law professor is cited who deliberately misrepresents what the law is about--not making "sex workers" or "women" safe, but *stopping human trafficking"--and then collects no data whatsoever about that topic, but about a different topic entirely.

    oh, and omits the fact that "sex work" is currently illegal, and that it is not up to the internet to bypass fully in-force laws, which is what Section 230 does. If you want to make sex work legal, fine, go ahead, do it--and then it will be legal on the internet too. but you can't use the internet to bypass the law. that is really what Section 230 is about. making money from bypassing the law. period.

    but let us not ask anything about who funds and funded the anti-FOSTA campaigns, let alone what their interests in stopping human trafficking might be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2019 @ 6:53pm

      Re: let's review the signs of a stroke

      Sir You seem to have sustained grievous head trauma very recently. Please dial 911 and or see yourself to an emergency room post haste.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 10:20pm

      that is really what Section 230 is about. making money from bypassing the law.

      If a Facebook employee knowingly posts copyrighted material, Facebook can be held liable. If a Craigslist employee posts a threat of violence, Craigslist can be held liable. If Jack Dorsey posts an incitement to violence against someone, Twitter can be held liable. CDA 230 does not “bypass the law”; it places legal liability where it belongs (on the person who did the deed) rather than on the biggest wallet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2019 @ 11:45pm

        Re:

        Section 230 bypasses distributor liability for defamation, which is recognized in most of the rest of the world. Those who repeat and spread defamation as distributors are inflicting a second, separate harm from the one who published it. Our laws make that clear, and search engines have lost cases in other countries over material they merely archived.

        If someone defames another on 4Chan, and their employer finds it through a Google search, but does not read 4Chan, then GOOGLE is the company who caused the defamation to be located.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2019 @ 1:02am

          Re: Re:

          Why the hell is an employer looking for employee information on the website that literally boasts about its role as the asshole of the Internet?

          No, seriously - what employers are trawling an online BBS driven by anonymity and shitposting? What, were the party and nightclub photos on Facebook not damning enough?

          Where is this epidemic of employers specifically looking for hearsay of their employees in the worst possible light, for which the only logical remedy is to sue every single provider of infrastructure? (And while you're at it, Herrick, where are the court documents?)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 9 May 2019 @ 1:26am

            Re: Re: Re:

            "No, seriously - what employers are trawling an online BBS driven by anonymity and shitposting? "

            Well, according to his scenario I think he's saying that the employer are searching for him and find his 4Chan posts, not that they're searching it directly. In which case - either he's posting on 4Chan under his real name or the employer is obsessive enough to be searching under any possible alias he's using. Both of which indicate far more serious problems than whether or not Google correctly returns search results.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2019 @ 8:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, according to his scenario I think he's saying that the employer are searching for him and find his 4Chan posts, not that they're searching it directly

              I think you're a bit off the mark there.

              John Smith is claiming that Section 230 allows anonymous shitposters on 4chan to post something about someone, which someone's employer can find and take action based on the alleged undesirable behavior.

              Where Jhon's argument falls apart is prioritizing blaming Section 230 as the main cause, instead of the employer who obsessively searches for anything they can use to paint their subordinate in the worst possible light.

              In that case, you and I are in agreement that the obsessive employer is the problem, particularly because of all the examples Jhon wants to use for defamation he uses one of the least reliable sources of character review. But that's also likely a reason why he can't cite an example of this happening outside his imagination, because seriously, what employer uses 4chan to evaluate his employees?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 10 May 2019 @ 12:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                No, he's clearly blaming Google for allowing people to find the 4chan posts, rather than 4chan for allowing them to post.

                "what employer uses 4chan to evaluate his employees?"

                A bad one. But, the specifics here do make me wonder if our boy here has some personal elements in his example. A recently unemployed 4chan shitposter would not be a bad label for the behaviour we see here...

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 9 May 2019 @ 1:23am

          Re: Re:

          "If someone defames another on 4Chan, and their employer finds it through a Google search, but does not read 4Chan, then GOOGLE is the company who caused the defamation to be located"

          But actual issues in that case are - the employee posting toxic shit online under his own name, him using an alias, but the employer deciding to go way beyond what would normally done offline in order to uncover his alias, and the two of them being unable to agree to a reasonable separation of public and private life.

          Honestly, Google's role there is irrelevant. If the guy is using their real name, then other 4Chan users will know it's him and potentially tie that back to the employer. Hiding it from Google does nothing to change that. If the guy isn't posting under his own name, then it's the fact that the employer are stalking him online during private time that's the problem, not that Google allowed them to find what he's been posting under his alias.

          As ever, you think you're arguing for some sort of justice, but all you want is for innocent parties to be held responsible for things they didn't do.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 9 May 2019 @ 5:30am

            Re: Re: Re:

            "If someone defames another on 4Chan, and their employer finds it through a Google search, but does not read 4Chan, then GOOGLE is the company who caused the defamation to be located"

            No, the poster of the unflattering comments is the entity who caused the unflattering comment to be located by putting it there.

            So much for personal responsibility!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 11:55pm

      Re: let's review

      despite being principally backed by sex trafficking advocates whose only, open, and declared public interest is stopping sex trafficking

      ...Back in the real world, everyone who worked at all in the field of stopping sex trafficking were against SESTA/FOSTA.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 May 2019 @ 8:09pm

    'Screw them, I got my PR'

    FOSTA was, and continues to be, nothing more than a PR stunt, something the politicians involved can point to to show that they Did Something. It was never about the actual people involved, never about helping current or possible future victims, it was only about the politicians.

    Pointing out that their precious bill has failed utterly at it's stated goal(and if anything has made the plight of the people they claimed they were trying to help worse) and holding their feet to the fire for supporting and/or voting for it would be enjoyable to be sure, but I don't see it actually causing any of them to admit to having screwed up on a monumental level or care beyond that. They got what they wanted out of it, and to hell with anyone besides them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2019 @ 2:16am

    we're still not happy with excessive deficit spending, no matter who is president.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 May 2019 @ 2:34am

      Re:

      Yet, I've not heard anything like the noise during Trump's tenure as I did during Obama's, even though the deficit has gained a significant amount during that time. Why is that?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2019 @ 6:51am

        Re: Re:

        Pffff. Since we like to pretend that old-timey fiscal conservatives were ever really a thing: Reagan. Y'all are consistentky full of shit.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 8 May 2019 @ 9:58am

    But... but....

    ...these are liberal CELEBRITIES! They MUST be right!

    Don't those of you who identify left of center ever get royally pissed off when such blatant methods are assumed to be sufficient to sway you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2019 @ 10:41am

      Re: But... but....

      Personally, I consider most celebrity endorsements (whether for a policy, a product, or a political candidate) to be on par with e-mail spam: they're actively trying to get anyone with critical thinking skills to tune out, because those people might actually expect measurable results from whatever the celebrity is endorsing, and try to hold them accountable if those expectations aren't met.

      That seems to be almost universally true, regardless of the product or the political bent of the person doing the endorsing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2019 @ 11:06am

      Re: But... but....

      Was Trump a celebrity?
      Is he right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2019 @ 12:18pm

        Re: Re: But... but....

        Don't those of you who identify as right-of-center ever get royally pissed off when such blatant methods as Trump used in his campaign (appealing to racism, lying about facts that can be easily checked, making funding promises on behalf of a foreign government) are assumed to be sufficient to sway you?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 8 May 2019 @ 12:50pm

          Trump's base

          I assumed that Trump's base worships him as a god and forgives him of all things specifically because he is racist and gives his followers permission to do so, and to hate on people they want to hate on. With violence and prejudice if they prefer.

          When we don't have demagogues in office, we have to recognize that living in a plurality full of contemptible weirdos is the price we pay for being in a huge society with high technology and advanced infrastructure. (bridges, libraries, chains of freight, power and water, internet, space programs and so on.) For some of us, the promise of some day colonizing space is enough to suffer real extraterrestrial aliens, let alone odd-colored humans who worship weird gods.

          I think the system has to be doing a whole lot of not working very well before we get so pissed off that we're willing to take a Mussolini-wannabe at his word that he can fix everything if we kick out the undesirables.

          Sadly that's a problem we're not very eager to fix.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2019 @ 11:47pm

            Re: Trump's base

            Trump's base is more anti-elite and anti-liberal than pro-Trump. They just see him as the guy who will tell the world what's really going on behind the scenes in Washington, and he's done that to a large extent.

            Hillary stole the 2016 nomination from Sanders.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2019 @ 1:02am

              Re: Re: Trump's base

              Trump's base is more anti-elite

              Gunning for "funniest comment of the week" are we?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2019 @ 4:44am

                Re: Re: Re: Trump's base

                Well you need to apply their insidious definition of "elite". Being a multimillionaire is a good thing and not elite (unless you are liberal). Having actual advanced knowledge like a college degree, knowing how to code, or living in a major city? You are "elite" even if you work at a Starbucks.

                And that is before getting into their anti-Semitic dogwhistle uses. A WASP banker born with a silver spoon in his mouth isn't elite but a Jewish one who was the first in his family to get a college degree? Oh so very elite.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 8 May 2019 @ 11:43am

      "Identifying left"

      I don't identify as left rather I am identified as left. I don't imply. Others infer.

      I've talked before about identities not being representative of positions. Labels imposed by others are less so.

      I concern myself with our high child-poverty level. I concern myself with our lack of medical care. I concern myself with our brutal police state, our unchecked surveillance state, overclassification, the overreach of intellectual property law, our immense wealth disparity, the lack of oversight on even discourse among our elected officials (who we now have to factcheck continuously, because they don't even bother trying to state accurate facts). I concern myself with the preponderance of sexual coercion in the workforce, and our inability to do anything about it.

      And I concern myself with human trafficking, but I was pretty sure killing the classified ad sites was not going to slow that down.

      Because I feel concerned about this set of issues, some might say I'm a left wingnut or some such. But that doesn't mean I identify as left, or I necessarily ally with the left establishment or the Democratic Party. Too many times have I learned that their agendas don't mesh well with my interests, and it's painful to learn that after I've been putting time and effort into their campaigning.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Filipescu Mircea Alexandru, 12 May 2019 @ 2:06pm

    The plan of erasing free modern society

    SESTA / #FOSTA is a criminal law created by criminal lawmakers. Just as with the Copyright Directive in Europe and the encryption bill in Australia and so many more cases, both users and tech experts clearly warned of the dangers involved, but were laughed at and deliberately ignored by groups interested only in pushing their personal agenda at the expense of society. Those powerful groups continue to manipulate us through emotion, and sadly the masses are gladly buying everything they sell; All it takes is an emotional propaganda video using a touching story (real or false) starring a popular singer or actor, to convince everyone that "something must be done" and they get their way.

    One of their primary goals is the destruction of free society, which they cannot control and thus perceive as an untapped resource, for which they must first find a way to bring down open communications. Today this is easily done by creating and / or empowering groups for people to be scared of (Nazis, terrorists, child molesters) whose actions are then blamed exclusively on our freedoms so that we accept a governmental takeover of every aspect of our lives. How long until we finally wake up and stop playing their obvious games?

    Right now there is every reason to call for the repeal of this abominable law. Why is no one doing anything to get rid of it yet?! How can we have a law that we know was based on lies and causes real harms, and even now no one is rushing to abolish it and apologize for their mistake!? Shame on them, but also shame on us for allowing them to get this far.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Filipescu Mircea Alexandru, 12 May 2019 @ 2:11pm

      Re: The plan of erasing free modern society

      Apologies for the huge text in the first paragraph: I thought I could use hashtags but apparently the symbol marks the header font instead. It seems I can't edit comments I've already posted either, so unless a mod fixes it I'm afraid it's stuck that way.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MrsRobinson (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 7:02am

    After Fosta Impact Report Conducted by Coyote RI

    The After FOSTA, Impact Report Conducted by Coyote RI https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1KBsVBQh7EsRexAyZacaf_fUvvsVb2MR1Q30_gV7Jegc/edit?usp=s haring For more information, please visit Coyoteri.org

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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